Sabalenka replaced Swiatek at the No. 1 spot after the US Open.
Iga Swiatek revealed she personally thinks that Aryna Sabalenka deserved to reach the world No 1 ranking this year. Sabalenka, 25, became the world No 1 for the first time in her career after replacing Swiatek at the top spot on September 11th.
Before Sabalenka overtook Swiatek, the Pole was the top-ranked player in the world 75 consecutive weeks. In 2023, Sabalenka accomplished her two biggest goals as she also became a Grand Slam champion at the Australian Open.
“She deserved it. She had a great season. She won a Grand Slam, was in the final of another Grand Slam and in two semi-finals, so it was an amazing season. I just preferred to focus on other things, because the pressure related to the No 1 spot was a bit overwhelming in the middle of the season.
For this reason, I didn’t play very freely until the US Open, and then I knew that I just had to change this attitude and approach the next tournaments differently, just be a different player who didn’t focus on all that things.
Although I always try to do it, but it doesn’t always work out,” Swiatek told Eurosport Poland.
Swiatek on finishing the year at No 1 ahead of Sabalenka
Going into the final stage of the 2023 season, Sabalenka was in a far better position to finish as the Year-End No 1.
But Swiatek had an outstanding finish to the season, winning a WTA 1000 title in Beijing before also lifting her first WTA Finals title in Cancun. After going 5-0 in Cancun – that includes beating Sabalenka in the semifinal – Swiatek managed to just narrowly beat out the Belarusian for the Year-End No 1 spot.
“It was certainly a demanding season that taught me a lot and which makes me even more proud. This year-end result exceeded all my expectations. The fact that I came back to No 1 and that it happened in Cancun with all the pressure and strange circumstances,” Swiatek said.